If By Chance There Is Memory in Your Slumber
In sleep, do you slip-slide back
recall me, your blue-eyed daughter
fine brown hair braided, ribboned.
While you drift
are you back in the red brick house
peeling parsnips, plucking chicken
lighting Friday night candles —
or are you a child yourself, clutching tightly
to your own mother’s firm warm hand.
I enter your narrow bedroom
glimpse the hills of your body
under the blue flowered afghan,
your snow-white hair matted, tousled.
You stir, utter sounds I can’t unravel.
It’s been a year since we last spoke.
I settle myself comfortably
on the padded rocker,
gaze out the window at the gray sky,
listen to thunderstorms pummel the roof,
throaty black crows in the yard
Where do you go when your eyes close?
Is your mind the empty slate
that greets you upon wakening.
Or if by chance
there is memory in your slumber,
I wish you, my darling Mother,
the sweetest of dreams.
photo: Sharon Lask Munson
photo: Keith Munson
but it is the cook
through swinging doors
of roasted duck
in plum sauce,
a generous man
his wooden spoon,
like a conductor
at the helm
of woodwind and brass.
Wade a Little Deeper, Darling
Decades later he will tell her
how difficult it was
the two of them fly fishing together
her lines getting caught in tree branches,
snagging rocks on the bottom of rivers.
His time spent untangling,
removing fish from hooks,
retying flies to leaders.
But he was young—
in the beginnings of their marriage,
hesitant to speak.
What she had really wanted
was a smooth flat spot on a wide log—
stretches of time to listen to water
eddy around a bank,
hear the music of songbirds,
observe the sun glaring off the water
like a million stars ricocheting,
study a hatch of mayflies rising
as rainbow trout snatch them in mid air,
to marvel as she watched
her young husband cast a line,
the bend of his bamboo rod—
a horseshoe for luck
time to sit against a slate-gray pine,
a slim book in her hand,
letting the lazy day take shape.
photo: Sharon Lask Munson
photo: Keith Munson |
Evenings at Five
Something sensual in the way
he uncorks wine,
pauses as it scents the air,
views its ruby tinge
as he tilts the bottle
toward natural light
spilling in through kitchen windows.
as he chooses vintage stemware,
pours the Cabernet
into ample goblets,
watches it stream into clear crystal,
hints of berry, plum, currant
suspended over blue tile.
in the anthology
Cheese, and Chocolate
Midwesterners choosing to move
to the Northwest
seldom go back to live.
They fly east for weddings, funerals—
show their children
the old high school track field
and where an early Dairy Queen
used to sit on Main Street.
They brag about manageable seasons—
lack of heat and humidity,
absence of snow.
bike to work, become vegan
drink herbal tea, take up running
give up God for nature
assume everyone is like-minded.
But in that uneasy sleep
just before waking
they dream of golden wheat
swaying in the wind
as far as the eye can see
hot summer sun on their necks
hear their fathers’ voices question
How can you live
where they don’t grow corn?
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